Desire to reclaim Michif language grows

·1 min read

With the Michif language defined as “critically endangered” by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Métis Nation Council (MNC) has recently voiced its desire to revitalize and protect its culture and identity.

The MNC has recently requested an Accord with Canada to ensure the Indigenous languages that define Métis citizens can be preserved before its extinct.

“Bringing languages back from the brink of extinction is the work of generations, said Clément Chartier, MNC president and recent speaker at the national Indigenous Languages Symposium, in a recent press release.

“The 2019 Indigenous Languages Act sets out important commitments to support Métis Nation-led revitalization efforts through sustained, long-term funding. A nation-to-nation, government-to-government Accord is crucial to ensuring that these commitments are kept.”

The weeklong Indigenous Languages Symposium was held virtually between Jan. 25 to 29, thanks to organizers like the MNC, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Department of Canadian Heritage. According to the Government of Canada, the Indigenous Language Symposium is focused on sharing knowledge with one another, and gaining insights into differing perspectives on language reclamation and revitalization.

According to the MNC, Métis citizens are known for being multilingual with knowledge in Michif, French, English and various First Nations languages.

It is believed that “urgent action” is required to sustain languages for the Métis Nation. The MNC has indicated that it will be seeking a federal commitment to develop a sub-accord on Métis languages through a partnership in light of the existing Canada-Métis Nation Accord.

Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer